President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said he would not lose sleep over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 39 other political parties.
The President, who spoke through the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, argued that given the composition of the coalition, it was obvious to him that what happened on Monday was a political fraud.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared that no level of gang-up could make President Buhari and his government to waiver in its promise to rid Nigeria of corruption and improve the quality of life of the people.
The President and APC spoke on the heels of the formation, on Monday, of a grand coalition by the PDP and other political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A power bloc within the ruling party, called Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), was also part of the coalition of opposition forces.
The political parties that signed the MoU pledged to work together under Coalition for United Democratic Parties (CUDP) to produce a presidential candidate for the 2019 election.
Director, Communications and Strategy of the campaign organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) said that, apart from the PDP, many of the other parties in the coalition were inconsequential because they do not have representatives at any level or tier of government in the country.
He argued that such fringe parties cannot be a threat to Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
According to Keyamo, some of these political parties also collaborated with the PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election.
He also alleged that most of these parties were floated by PDP during the leadership crisis in the party.
His words: “The coalition of the parties cannot be a threat to the re-election of President Buhari in 2019. Don’t forget that some of these parties also collaborated with the PDP in the 2015 election.
“If you remember, Chief Olu Falae, the national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), collected N100 million from Jonathan and he endorsed the former president in 2015.
“Most of these parties were floated by PDP during the crisis between Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi. So, what you saw is PDP agreeing with PDP.
There is nothing to lose sleep about.”
The president’s campaign organisation said that as long as the political parties to the agreement did not announce a merger in its true sense, it was an exercise in futility.
“What happened with that MoU is nothing but political 419; it is political fraud. To what effect is the MoU? You are not doing merger or alliance in the sense of it and you haven’t told the other parties which particular party is going to present the presidential candidate.
“Is it that SDP will present a presidential candidate and others will support him? They should be very clear about which of the party they are supporting. So, the long and short run of it is that they have all pledged to support the candidate of the PDP.
“This is unlike what happened in 2013 when you have four parties; Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Congress (APGA). All the four parties that came together had governors and representatives even up to the state assemblies. So, there is no alliance in what they did on Monday, it is just PDP registering more members. It was only a membership drive for the PDP.
“There is no powerful force there at all. Apart from the PDP which is a major opposition and will continue to be a major opposition, there is no other force coming together there. The 37 parties just joined PDP registration book,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, explained that while the ruling party respects the right of everyone to join any association or group, it took exception to the impression being created in some quarters that the R-APC was a faction of the APC.
According to him, the APC remains one united body under the leadership of President Buhari.
“It is also noteworthy that some political parties that have been named as signatories to the MoU have disassociated themselves from the publicised deal.
“We, once again, reiterate the commitment of our party to address real grievances of our genuine members. We call on them to take advantage of this opportunity while the windows for reconciliation are still open,” Abdullahi said.
In the meantime, a former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has dismissed the signing of the MoU by 39 political parties, saying the action won’t make any difference in the political equation.
The former governor also described the action as opportunistic and expressed doubts about the capacity of the coalition to defeat the APC at the 2019 polls.
Musa, who is the National Chairman, Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), said his party was not part of the coalition.
“Remember, the reason for coming together is simply because they have lost the opportunities for sharing power.
“It is not because of anything which they can do which APC didn’t do. No, it is not because they have a different ideological position.
“There is no fundamental difference between them and the APC; they are just an electoral gang to defeat the APC. I don’t think the coalition is enough,” he said.
According to him, what is needed is an alliance which is ideologically more focused than the APC and not just an aberration of what APC stands for.
“In any case also, they have to contend with other alliances. I don’t think it will make any difference at all.
“Between now and August, we will know whether they can make qualitative difference and do what APC is able to do,” Musa said.
On the 2019 election, Musa said that Nigerians were now more enlightened more than before, adding that Nigerians would want to see a qualitative difference.
“We should know that there should be some way we can reconcile all Nigerians to be united as one united, democratic Nigeria based on credibility, national unity and even development of the whole country.
“Secondly, we must ensure there is free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government.
“Thirdly, this disabling level of stealing and criminal waste of resources must stop by any means,” Musa said.
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